August 11, 2022 Update
Dear IU Bloomington Faculty, Staff, and Student Academic Appointees,
Following last week’s announcement of initial action from the university regarding elements of the Task Force recommendations, I write to you in this message to share additional context and updates on further steps we intend to take.
First, as I shared in a message last week, we are thrilled we are able to take much-needed and timely action to increase stipends for our SAAs, and that our benchmarking process will ensure compensation continues to keep pace with the top half of the BIG Ten in the years to come. I’m particularly grateful to the members of the Task Force working group on financial support for their thoughtful recommendations.
In the years ahead, we will work closely with our deans to conduct careful budget planning that integrates the costs for these improved stipends within program and college budgets. For the current year, we will make an array of temporary adjustments that will allow us to invest roughly $12.5 million in additional SAA stipends, without introducing significant delays to other key priorities for our campus.
One part of these costs has already been built into FY23 budgets. The remainder will be achieved through postponing technology and equipment lifecycle upgrades until FY24, limiting non-essential business travel, and reducing spending on events paid for using general funds. I know these efforts will not be without difficulty or inconvenience for our faculty and staff, but I’m appreciative of your understanding and support as we prioritize our investments in graduate education.
Second, I have charged David Daleke, Interim Dean of the IUB Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education, with developing a campus-wide protocol for implementing recommendations from the Task Force to ensure financial transparency for graduate students as they consider attending IU.
As the Task Force outlined, prospective graduate students deserve full information about their SAA position, stipend and other support amounts, years of support, tuition and fee remission, and health insurance. Similarly, based on the protocol to be developed under David’s leadership, departments will also ensure that students have up-to-date information about the average time to degree, credit hours required to complete their degree, and the number of years the financial support package is designed to support.
Our students have a reasonable expectation of clarity, and this process will ensure that all students, regardless of discipline or college, can make fully-informed decisions about their academic future at IU.
Finally, as the Task Force continues to make progress, I am pleased to report that the Working Group on Health and Wellness met for the first time last week to establish its objectives and discuss the scope of its focus. The Working Group on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will meet in the coming weeks to begin its work as well. I look forward to receiving additional recommendations from the Task Force, leading to further opportunities for substantive action to support students.
In the weeks ahead, the return to a regular schedule of shared governance activities, including through the Bloomington Faculty Council and its newly reconstituted SAA Affairs Committee, will also allow us to explore additional action on issues impacting SAAs.
I remain grateful to so many across campus for their engagement on behalf of our graduate students, and I am excited to welcome both our students and our faculty back to campus in just a few short days.
Indiana University Bloomington